10 Expert Tips for Better Landscape Photography

In the last post, I talked about the 7 Common Problems in Landscape Photography and covers some of the more basic problems and how to quickly solve them (Thanks for all your comments!). In this post, I gathered 10 of the best tips from some of the top landscape photographers and educators. Got a tip to share? Leave me a comment below!

Scott Kelby

Take Multiple Shots If Tourists Are In The Scene.
Using photoshops “Align Layers” function you can easily align your images and then selectively remove objectionable areas (and people)! Over time, people will move and with multiple shots, you can easily composite them out of your scene.

Follow The 5 Rules Of Composition
Rule of Thirds – place important elements on the thirds
Leading Lines – look for lines that lead you into the scene
Fill the Frame – fill the frame with your subject
Find Patterns – And a pattern interrupted is the Holy Grail!
Use Frames – Frame your shot with an archway, a window, foreground foliage, etc.

For more tips like these, check out Scott’s Crush the Composition course.

Matt Kloskowski

Use Bracketing
It’s a feature on most modern DSLR cameras and automatically adjusts the exposure around (bracketing) your current settings in multiple shots. This gives you an under exposed image, an over exposed image, and your metered image. I compose my shot and then set my camera to auto bracket and I press my shutter release and I get 3 or 5 images and I don’t have to worry about whether or not I get the correct exposure. AND, I can easily composite the best exposure for the sky and the best exposure for the foreground and get a really great image.

Lens Choice
For landscape photography you don’t need the “fastest” or most expensive lens. But you do need a range of lenses. First, you want a wide lens. I use a 16-35mm lens for my landscape photography. A good mid-range lens is in the 24-70mm range. Finally, if you want to pull in distant detail consider a 18-200mm on a crop frame or a 28-300mm on full frame cameras.

Check out Matt’s newest course on Landscape Photography.

Moose Peterson

Quickly Determine Sunset
Hold your had at arms length with your palm facing you. Rest your pinky finger on the distant horizon. Your thumb, index, and middle finger are 15 minute markers and your last two fingers are 10 minute markers. So, when the sun hits your thumb, sunset is in about 65 minutes. When it hits your pinky sunset is in about 10 minutes. Neat little trick my dad taught me.

Use A Polarizer
Keep a circular polarizer with you on your shoots. A circular polarizer will allow you to A – cut out unwanted reflections and B – reduce blue reflections and “sculpt” the light to your liking. A circular polarizer will give you the ability to easily adjust the effects of the filter depending on where you are in relation to the sun (It’s physics y’all).

Check out a bunch of fantastic tips with Moose’s Romancing The Landscape course.

Bill Fortney

Dominant Element
When creating a photograph, you need to determine what is the most important thing in the scene, and then make that your dominant element. Is it a color, a symbol, a shape, a person, a relationship? Make your decision and then make that your dominant element, and everything else either supports it or is removed.

Tell A Story
How do you create a photograph that says something to the viewer? The answer is to tell a story. The key to telling a good story is to remove all distraction and distill out only what is essential, and then arrange the remaining elements in the strongest manner possible. There are many ways to tell your story. Can you include people in the scene to provide a sense of scale? How are you choosing to render motion? Are you using depth of field to support the dominant element in your story? All of these and more are techniques a photographer can use to say something to the viewer.

Learn more about Bill Fortney here.

Rick Sammon

Convey Emotion
Thinking about the end result while you are taking the picture is crucial to creating a picture that conveys a mood and emotion. You could take a technically fantastic picture, but if it doesn’t convey any emotion, what’s it all about? So, think about your final image technically AND emotionally.

Make A Picture, Don’t Just Take A Picture
Take your photos to the next level by getting involved with creating the scene that best captures the shot you want to create. Work the image, find the best light, change positions, look for the best angles, and fill the frame with just the elements you want to include.

For more tips like these check out Rick’s courses here.

Got a tip or comment? Leave one below!